“I know people have been saying we played a tactical or a defensive game, but I don’t think it’s so much pulling lads back the field as trying to create space for your forwards to exploit, which is something that all teams do.
“Hurling has changed, insofar as players are expected to work a lot harder, particularly forwards, but that’s not something we invented. Every team is doing that, you just have to look at Kilkenny for the proof.
“It’s not a big change or anything – forwards are expected to track back with their markers and to work hard when they don’t have the ball, while we’re also looking to clear some space for the likes of John Mullane and Eoin Kelly up front, obviously. One feeds the other.
“Cork didn’t play that differently to us either, and the middle of the field was congested enough with players. That might have helped us: we would know well that when it comes to pinpointing his puck-outs, Dónal Óg Cusack is probably the best in the country. If you let him pick out options in the middle of the field then he’ll punish you every time, but those weren’t really available for him on Saturday night.
“But that doesn’t mean it’ll be the exact same the next time we play. We’ll have to look at who we’re up against and plan to deal with them accordingly, just as every team does. It could happen that we go out the next day and set up differently.”
“Our outlook coming up to last Saturday’s replay was completely focused on the game. We were so focused that we didn’t know when we’d be out again after it. I had to check yesterday that we’d be playing the All-Ireland semi-final on August 15. All we were thinking of was Saturday night.
“We know where we are as a team and as a unit. It doesn’t matter to us what other people think of us, it’s about our respect for each other. We are what we are and that’s it.
“We feel the best players in Waterford are on the panel and they were good enough to win the other day. Now we take the next game.”
“We have a lot of competition for places, but we don’t have a conscious plan to keep lads on the bench in order to bring them into the game later on, though. We pick the best 15 and go from there. “We have a strong bench alright – we have older, experienced lads like Ken (McGrath) and Dan (Shanahan), and they’re still very big players for us, as they showed on Saturday.
“We also have the likes of Brian O’Halloran. Maybe people outside the county wouldn’t know much about him, but he did very well for the Waterford minors last year and we felt he was doing well in training for us this year. He finished the Leaving Cert a couple of weeks ago which means there’s a bit of pressure off him.
“We were happy to take a chance on him over the weekend because we felt with the game opening up he could make a contribution, and he did – he got one point and was unlucky not to get on to the end of one or two more passes.
“He was almost through on goal at one stage but a Cork player just flicked the ball away from him.
“He brings something different if he’s introduced, Dan offers us something different again, so it’s good to have options.”
“It’s gratifying to see any player come on and do well. You couldn’t say enough about the likes of Dan (Shanahan), Tony (Browne), Ken (McGrath) and the work they’ve put in.
“People were saying they took a break around Christmas and early in the new year. They didn’t.
“They were working hard on their own programmes at that time, and they worked as hard as anybody else during the winter and spring.
“Now they’re back with the team for the last couple of months, even if they’re doing some slightly different stuff in training.
“We’re working together as hard as we can, and it’s good to see lads reaping the rewards for putting in the work earlier in the year.”
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